Monday, February 9, 2015

Heidi Wessman Kneale, Author of For Richer, For Poorer - Her Book and Family History!

I am thrilled to have Heidi Wessman Kneale, author of For Richer, For Poorer and a sister author from The Wild Rose Press visiting with me today. She and I share a passion for family history and it's this subject she has chosen to share with us us today, along with a little bit about her wonderful book! So take it away Heidi!


I love family history. It’s not so much the hatches, matches and dispatches, but the stories of my ancestors that intrigue me so.

Hugo Charlemont - Stillleben mit Folianten 1939

For example, a many-great-grandfather of mine once cross-dressed for a month to escape an abusive apprenticeship and join his family crossing the Great Plains. A great-great uncle of mine ran a still in Appalachia during Prohibition. He’d hidden it up in the woods and laid a pipe to the basement of his house. He never got caught. As far as we know, that still is out there to this day. Another ancestor of mine served with George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

I can also boast concert pianists, early feminists, first female American politicians and more. My lines are peppered with great men and women. I am lucky to have heard their stories.

This stuff is fascinating. I must express my gratitude to who thought to record these stories. And I must mourn for those stories that were never written down, which are now lost.

In FOR RICHER, FOR POORER, our heroine Beatrice also loves family history.

Beatrice is running out of time. Her greatest dream is to move from poor, crowded Earth to another world through the Off-World Migration Program. If she does that, there goes her opportunity to work on family history. While communication between planets is possible, it is difficult and very expensive. She’d have a hard time justifying the expense for something so “frivolous” as family history.  Best to get it done before she leaves Earth… assuming she gets to leave Earth.

She has one pressing question she’s been unable to answer: what was the wedding date of Gytha of Wessex and Phillippe Devereaux? On a whim, she takes off for England in pursuit of original sources.

There, she learns not only of Gytha and Phillippe, but also of a family curse that could follow her to a new world and ruin any future happiness. Fortunately, she figures out what to do about the curse because someone thought to write something down.

I think about my place in family history. See, family history isn’t just about my ancestors. I am also part of my history. (To my daughters, I’m practically ancient.)

I have ancestors who took vital information with them to their graves. I wish they had thought to write it down. There are so many, many unanswered questions. I cannot do anything about them now, but I can do something about me.

I write down my stories. Some day one of my descendants will want to hear about how (and why) I moved to Australia. They will want to know the music I played, the books I wrote, the houses I built.

Our stories might not seem much to us now, but to those who come after, they are a treasure trove.

Consider writing your life stories. Write down the stories of your relatives, from crazy cousin Harold to great-aunt Maude. Write down the stories your family likes to tell time and again. These belong to your history. Please do not let them be lost.

Some of my ancestors may have thought their lives plain and not worth noting. If only I could go back in time and tell them how interesting they are to me.

by Heidi Wessman Kneale

The Deveraux line is famous...for a family curse. The rich must marry the poor or lose their prosperity. Peter Baring is the last of the Deveraux and sinking slowly into poverty. But will marriage to his icy business partner save him?
Beatrice Nottham dreams of leaving Earth for a fresh start. But only married couples are allowed to move off-world. Marrying a man she’s unsure she loves will solve that problem...but at what cost?
When Beatrice visits England to research her branch of the Deveraux family tree, she meets Peter and sparks fly. Both question everything they ever believed would fulfill their dreams. If they dare to be together, will the Curse follow them beyond the stars? The answer to breaking its power could lie in the heart of a crumbling tapestry...if they have the courage to try.

What were the exact conditions of the Curse?
That the richest must marry the poorest? Sure. But other than that? Peter wondered, did Gytha love Phillippe?
She must have, to stay for so long. Or was it love? Did she stay simply so her family could be provided for? If she loved him, would she have cursed him thus? Or was she thinking of her sons? Clearly, she loved them more than anything.
“Peter?” Beatrice’s voice broke into his thoughts.
“Whether or not my marriage to Francie will break the Curse is irrelevant, because last night I decided I’m not going to marry her.” He hung his head. “And forgive me,” he murmured, “I haven’t told her yet.”
He wanted to take Beatrice’s hands, but thought that most improper. He did not know how she was taking this news. She stood as she had through the story of the Curse, one hand wrapped about her waist, the other hand pressed to her lips.
“I don’t love her,” he confessed. “Not one whit. I never did.”
Beatrice closed her eyes and slowly shook her head. “Yet you were going to marry her.”
He shrugged, at a loss for an answer. “I thought she loved me.”
“But you didn’t love her.” Was that disappointment in her voice?
“I liked her,” he hedged.
There was pain in her words. “But you love the land more? You’d marry her so not only would the prosperity return, but she’d know how to develop the land properly so it’d turn a profit.” She hugged both arms tightly about her. “Or perhaps you love money? Perhaps you see this as the only way of restoring your fortune.”

Buy Links:


Author BIO:

Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. By day, she wrangles computers as a way of supporting her educational and musical habits. By night she stares at the stars in the sky. 

You can find Heidi at the following locations:

So what about you? Would you love to find an old diary or journal about the life of one of your ancestors? 


  1. This is very interesting.. I just love history.. I love reading about old family stories.

    1. Me too Tammy! I believe those stories are part of our heart and soul!